Friday, June 08, 2007
We were woken up bright and early before 7am, I fell back to sleep till about 745am and did not want to get up. But I had to pack my shit up and used the free time left on the train to start this update to the blog. After a little while the conductor came in and told us that Hue was only five minutes away. This sent everyone in to a mini panic to get everything in order before we had to disembark. These are always the worst times for me. I will almost always forget something in a scurry such as this. I tried to be methodical and look everywhere and try really hard not to forget anything and it worked, but barely. We got off the train with all of our stuff and made our way to the exit. Some ladies at the exit were asking for our tickets, but Andy and I were both like “they took our ticket, we don’t have tickets.” I tried to get by but she didn’t let me. Then it happened. I looked down for my money belt with all my money, cards, passport in it and it was gone! I had left it beneath my pillow on the train. “Oh shit not again” I thought to myself. I immediately exclaimed to anyone around me “my money belt it’s on the train, shit, I need to go get it,” and before any response I took off. The train started to move slowly so I only had a few moments before it took off and my choice was either to watch my stuff go bye, bye or do something about it. I started to sprint, we were at like car 3 and I needed to get to car ten. Time was against me and the train started to pick up some speed. I kicked off my flip flops and turned on the juice like back in the day kind of speed. I finally got to car ten, jumped on the slowly moving train, and started yelling “I forget something, I forgot something,” I ran past my carriage in the panic, stopped went back, through the door open, someone was sitting on my bed. I looked around, didn’t see it, then remembered it was beneath my pillow, grabbed it and ran out. At this point the train was moving fairly quickly, but I didn’t care so I jumped out of the moving train. I didn’t even think. I had no choice, the mentality was “kill or be killed” and I wasn’t going to die in this situation. I needed my passport, money and credit/debit cards. So I jumped off from the open door of the number ten train car, my feet hit the ground, got taken out from underneath me due to the speed of the train, I rolled over a few times just like in the movies and popped right up. There were many people on the platform still waiting for people to get off, watching people go, so I had a bit of an audience during all of this. As I got up people were yelling things around me or at me in Vietnamese, but I was fine. I got right up, yelled a few expletives to no one just reacting to the moment, and walked back to the exit and said “let’s do it.” Some people from the group had watched this extremely intense chain of events, and others we had met as well. There were probably a few hundred people this happened in front of and it was definitely one of the most extreme and intense moments of my life. I mean I have been skydiving, bungy jumping and have done other extreme adventure type things, but to jump out of a moving train at probably 10-20 MPH just because I had to, definitely tops the list.
I did not have one scratch, scar nothing. The big guy in the sky was looking after me on this one.
So we gathered up our bags. I explained to the people who didn’t see the whole thing go down what had happened and why I needed to run back. I got some slack for yet again leaving my important valuables in a place, and taking them off me yet again, but I didn’t care, I was so charged up with adrenaline, nothing was phasing me. We found our driver who took us to our hotel in Hue, the Gold Hotel. It was nice, had air conditioning and a refrigerator that actually produced cold air and just wasn’t for show like other ones we have had in our rooms appeared to be. Today we had an included and an optional activity. After some confusion I informed Andy that I was only interested in the included activity of going to see the famous Citadel in Hue. Hue had previously been a capital of Vietnam for many years and huge Citadel and Royal Palace was built in the early 1800’s. We all jumped on a motorbike and took a ride over to the Palace and Citadel. We had a local guide called Tam which means the number eight in Vietnamese. Basically since he was the eighth child in his family he was named “number eight” or Tam. Tam took us all around the complex, spoke very good English and had a few funny jokes to boot. After walking around the really beautiful complex, in the blistering heat that was Southern Vietnam, for about an hour and a half, I said goodbye to the group. I elected to just see the included activity of the Citadel and take the rest of the day off. The rest of the gang forked out about 12 bucks to take a motorbike around the rest of the city and countryside for the day. It was too hot, and truthfully I wasn’t interesting on dishing out 12 bucks to ride on the back of a motorbike being taken to places that might not interest me. I also figured that since I would be very interested and probably going to rent a motorbike in Hoi An for at least one of the days, for probably less than a third of the price I would be fine. I appeared to have seen the big “Must-see,” of Hue, and I’m sure I missed a few things but I have no problem with that.
So when I got back, I took a couple drinks from my slightly chilled bottle of 7-up I had purchased from the train station back in Hanoi, popped in a new movie “Smokin Aces,” I bought in Hanoi that I had previously seen with Elise back at school and relaxed. I am definitely still dehydrated and have to now get to the internet café to upload all this great information, drink some serious fluid, maybe get a little nosh and continue to relax.
I think my motivation for traveling is starting to slightly decline. It is probably a good thing that I have decided not to further extend my trip. I think nine weeks is long enough this time. I mean since Australia where I was studying, this is my longest trip traveling. Last year I did about seven weeks, and I think it will be good to get home, of course going back to more heat, sleep in my own bed and relax. I mean I went right from Lansing to Cleveland to back home for like a night or two and then off to Asia. I have covered some miles so far and my traveling is really just starting to heat up with going to California and Vegas for three weeks with the camp.
OK well I am off for now, hope everyone is well at home.